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The UN has blasted Nigeria's plans to castrate rapists and paedophiles as "draconian".
The governor of Nigeria's Kaduna state last month signed a law saying men convicted of rape would be punished with surgical castration and anyone found guilty of raping a child younger than 14-years-old faces the death penalty.
A state of emergency has been declared in the west African country following public anger over a recent rise of rapes amid Covid-19 restrictions.
On Wednesday, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet said: "Tempting as it may be to impose draconian punishments on those who carry out such monstrous acts, we must not allow ourselves to commit further violations."
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In a statement addressing the adoption of the law in Nigeria, Bachelet said it is wrong for governors to assume the death penalty will be effective in deterring sexual assault.
She said: "The certainty of punishment, rather than its severity, deters crime.
"Penalties like surgical castration and bilateral salpingectomy will not resolve any of the barriers to accessing justice, nor will it serve a preventive role.
"Surgical castration and salpingectomy violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international human rights law."
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Since coronavirus restrictions were brought in this year, reports of rape in Nigeria have increased dramatically.
Women's groups have campaigned for tougher action against rapists, including the death penalty.
Kaduna state's new law is the strictest against rape in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country.
The state's newly amended penal code also says a person convicted of raping someone over age 14 will face life imprisonment.
This has replaced the previous maximum penalty of 21 years' imprisonment for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a child.
A woman convicted of rape of a child under 14 faces the removal of her fallopian tubes.
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